Responding to the resignation of Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, amidst escalating violence between supporters of the government and anti-government demonstrators, the Hindu notes that the larger message is that muscular nationalism and majoritarian mobilisation may not be an endless reservoir of support”.
Long venerated by the Sinhala majority as a war hero for the crush military defeat of the LTTE, which saw a litany of war crimes and accusations of genocide; Rajapaksa “could never have imagined that his teeming support base would be replaced by swarming protesters so vehemently opposed to him that he would have to leave ‘Temple Trees’, his Colombo residence, for safety”.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to flee his home and sought shelter in a Sri Lankan navy base in Trincomalee. This was after he had submitted his resignation after reportedly speaking with his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The current crisis has seen parliament dissolved with Sri Lanka’s President left to appoint a Prime Minister who can “command a parliamentary” however public outrage has deterred those associated with the Rajapaksas. The leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition, Sajith Premadasa, has already declined the offer.
The Hindu notes that the current crisis presents a unique dilemma for India. “Its continued support should not be seen as a means of keeping an unpopular regime going; nor can it look the other way as shortages persist, causing misery for the common folk”, the editorial notes.
India’s High Commission in Sri Lanka was quick to rebuke claims that the Rajapaksa family had fled the island to seek protection in India. Responding to the crisis, the Indian government has stated it supports Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery and that it “will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes”.
Read the full editorial here.